Staff Reports
Sean's Japan Travel Journal
by Sean, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2012/10/24 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko

Senjogahara Marshland

Following our previous reports on Nikko last week and the week before, today I visited again to check out the progress of the autumn colors there. I approached from the west on the higher elevations of Konsei Pass, before descending to the city center of Nikko, making stops along the way.

That's why there is the saying "as unpredictable as the weather": yesterday I checked the weather forecast and it predicted only a 20% chance of precipitation for today. But as I arrived at Konsei Pass expecting autumn colors, I got snow landscapes instead. Making a stop outside Konsei Tunnel, I found many trees to have already shedded their leaves, leaving the yellow from deciduous needle-leaved trees to provide some warm colors in the snow.

Approaching Konsei Pass
Snow landscape
Snow plow
Along Konsei Road
Konsei Tunnel
Outside Konsei Tunnel

As I headed downhill towards Yumoto Town, the sky started to clear, and with visibility improvement also came an increasing variety of autumn colors. I looked up and was amazed: don't remember ever seeing clouds move so fast. By the time I reached the town, archipelagoes of blue appeared in the sea of grayish-white above.

Yumoto Town was looking good today, with the right mix of brown barren branches, red, yellow and a whole spectrum of colors in between. As the weather improved, the tourists started to appear in bulk as well.

Winding road going downhill
Yumoto Town viewed from above
Approaching Yumoto Town
Fallen foliage
Yumoto Town
Yunoko Lake

I made a quick stop at Senjogahara, which was filled with different hues of brown by now, but as always, still beautiful. Those yellow deciduous needles are like the superstars of the moment, providing welcomed conviviality to the landscape. Then I visited Ryuzu Falls, and found pretty vivid colors, but also observed that the trees had been shedding leaves fast, and are probably slightly past their peak.

Senjogahara Marshland
Obligatory picture of Ryuzu Falls viewed from the top
Superstars of the moment
Ryuzu Falls viewed from the bottom
As intense as the colors of maples can get

Peak. I think I shall refrain from using this word to describe the scenery for a moment, because it implies that views are no longer appealing once it is over. Strolling along Chuzenji Lake, I thought to myself that trees are very much like humans: there are sultry velvet red ones, the angry scarlet red ones, the feminine pale yellow ones, the masculine mustard yellow ones, the late "bloomers" that take time to warm to the cold, the ones that stay green with envy because they cannot change colors even if they wanted to...

And, there are of course the ones who develop receding hairlines earlier than others. But who is to say that the bald ones cannot make a landscape more attractive than others? So much for peak.

Mount Nantai viewed from Lake Chuzenji
I came from the mountains covered in snow in the backdrop (viewed from Lake Chuzenji)
Some leaves struggling to hold on
Beautiful trees at a parking area

Next stop was Hangetsuyama Observation Deck. I was originally worried that I might not be able to get good views here due to the bad weather experienced in the morning. However, by noon, the army of heavenly blues was winning the battle against the mushmellow whites, and I, together with the many others who were present, witnessed magnificent views of Lake Chuzenji, Mount Nantai and the surrounding area covered in brilliant colors.

View from Chuzenji Lake Observation Deck enroute to Hangetsuyama Observation Deck
While hiking up to Hangetsuyama Observation Deck
View from Hangetsuyama Observation Deck
Tour ship ferrying passengers for a closer look

Colors for the time being are best around Lake Chuzenji and Hangetsuyama. Just a short distance away downhill is Kegon Falls, and although colors are already pleasant, it will probably take a few more days before they reach their best. Further down at the Irohazaka slopes, colors became greener the further down I went in the direction of the city center of Nikko.

My last stop for the day was at Shoyoen Garden of Rinnoji. The garden had many maples which were gradually turning orange and red. For those interested to visit, a light up event will be held from October 25 to November 15, every evening from 17:00 to 20:00.

Kegon Falls
Some colors spotted while driving on Irohazaka
Lamp in place for light up
Shoyoen Garden

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List of Posts:
2014/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2014/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumae
2014/04/23 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takato
2014/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fujigoko
2014/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2014/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hikone
2014/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsuyama
2014/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2014/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2014/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2014/03/06 - Shopping around Northern Osaka
2014/01/23 - Nikko in Winter

2013/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2013
2013/12/06 - Kamakura Report
2013/11/26 - Tokyo Report
2013/11/22 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/21 - Miyajima Report
2013/11/19 - Korankei Report
2013/11/18 - Kyoto Report
2013/11/11 - Sakurayama Report
2013/11/08 - Karuizawa Report
2013/10/29 - Nikko Report
2013/10/18 - Nasu Report
2013/10/17 - Nikko Report
2013/10/14 - Mount Fuji Report
2013/10/10 - Oze Report
2013/09/27 - Alpine Route Report
2013/09/13 - Nakanojo Biennale 2013
2013/08/07 - Exploring Tokyo 2: Around the Tokyo Imperial Palace
2013/05/20 - Tottori Sand Museum 2013
2013/05/07 - Fuji Shibazakura Festival
2013/05/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2013/05/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2013/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2013/04/23 - Northern Kanto Flower Report
2013/04/17 - Cherry Blossom Report: Takayama
2013/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Matsumoto
2013/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2013/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2013/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Gunma
2013/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/31 - Visiting Shodoshima for the Setouchi Triennale 2013
2013/03/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2013/03/27 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2013/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2013/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2013/03/12 - Tokyo Early Cherry Blossom Report
2013/02/17 - Tokamachi Snow Festival
2013/02/16 - Zao Snow Monster Report
2013/02/15 - Yokote Kamakura Festival
2013/01/10 - Winter Visit to Manza Onsen
2013/01/02 - Tokyo New Year Report

2012/12/31 - Sean's Travel Highlights 2012
2012/12/11 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2012/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/19 - Autumn Color Report: Takaosan
2012/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2012/11/15 - Autumn Color Report: Shosenkyo
2012/11/07 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2012/11/06 - Autumn Color Report: Naruko
2012/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Hiraizumi
2012/11/01 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2012/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Minakami
2012/10/24 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/16 - Autumn Color Report: Norikura
2012/10/12 - Autumn Color Report: Oze
2012/10/09 - Autumn Color Report: Nikko
2012/10/05 - Autumn Color Report: Route 292
2012/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kurodake
2012/09/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kogen Onsen
2012/09/26 - Autumn Color Report: Asahidake
2012/09/17 - Exploring Tokyo: Gate Bridge
2012/08/20 - Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennial 2012
2012/06/27 - Hiking at Mount Azuma
2012/06/18 - Legoland Discovery Center opens in Odaiba
2012/06/18 - Hydrangea Flowers in Kamakura
2012/06/04 - Tokyo Skytree
2012/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2012/05/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2012/05/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hirosaki
2012/04/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kakunodate
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kitakami
2012/04/28 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiraizumi
2012/04/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2012/04/24 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukushima
2012/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2012/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hiroshima
2012/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2012/04/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2012/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2012/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2012/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2012/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2012/03/08 - Plum Blossom Report from Kairakuen, Mito
2012/03/07 - Trip to Iwaki, Fukushima
2012/02/21 - Plum Blossom Report from Tokyo
2012/01/30 - Skiing in Inawashiro, Fukushima
2012/01/27 - Kusatsu Hot Springs